Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Is It Wrong To Celebrate Easter?

        It would be inaccurate to consider Easter, also known as Resurrection Sunday, a pagan holiday because Christians have for centuries set aside that time to specifically celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

        That day was formally recognized as such when Roman Emperor Constantine called for the Council of Nicea in AD. 325. The annual dating for the holiday is determined by moon cycles as was the Jewish Passover, though both religious observances are distinct. Differences in timing and how the Easter celebration was to take place can be traced back to the earlier second century.

        Any parallels to pagan symbolism would be the result of primitive believers interacting with the culture of their day. Nonetheless, customs and traditions are not inherently sinful (2 Thessalonians 2:15). Scripture records believers assembling on Sunday (Acts 20:7-12), yet it nowhere mandates us to gather on that day. The point of emphasis is the church service being conducted in accordance with the Word of God. Thus, we see what amounts to a biblically sanctioned tradition. The question of Easter is one that deserves fair treatment.

        Most things nowadays have pagan parallels, which would even include the names of planets in our solar system and days of the week. So can we do anything at all? Similarities do not in themselves prove something to be evil or malicious. Similarities do not in themselves prove a logical connection or association. Symbols are subject to reinterpretation and can therefore be reused.

        If pagans once did something, that does not necessarily mean Christians cannot do them for good reasons or simply for fun. Pagans also eat, walk, talk, etc. We are not forbidden from doing something simply because pagans did it for the wrong reasons.

        Resurrection Sunday was celebrated by Christians long before it was made about the mythical creature called the Easter Bunny. The holiday points us to Christ, namely His resurrection. That historical event is of pivotal significance to our faith. If Jesus Christ has not been raised from the dead, then our faith would be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). That point is certainly worthy of repeated commemoration. Such a ceremony does not exceed or violate the principles of Scripture.

        Claims of Easter being pagan originated with pagans themselves and secularists who detest the truth of the gospel. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. No mere man has the power to make a day that God created corrupt. Christians who dogmatically condemn the celebration are guilty of making category errors and oversimplifications. No sacrifices or homage is given to false gods in the process. The English term Easter comes from the Old German word "erstehen," which means coming back to life. It does not pertain to the celebration of anything pagan.

        The form of compromise (which Easter is not) Scripture condemns is that which hinders service or allegiance rightfully belonging to God alone. There comes a point when separation no longer resembles a desire to grow in sanctification but a religious recluse. The latter is not the way God wants us to thrive. If we were to be absolutely disconnected from the world, then He would have to remove us at this very instant. We are to be in the world (to preach the gospel, etc.), but not of it. We are to engage the culture with our beliefs, but lovingly stand firm in so doing.

        Even the act of painting eggs or the idea of imaginary rabbits are nothing more than childish means of entertainment. Such is not inherently involved or related to the worship of idols.

        Whether or not a Christian chooses to observe Easter is entirely a matter of conscience or personal preference. It is not meant to be a test of orthodoxy. It is not a matter to break fellowship over. The Apostle Paul said the following about matters such as these:

        "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God...Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way" (Romans 14:5-6; 13).

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